Sunday, October 30, 2016

Choosing the no-evil option

When did it become a Christian's moral obligation to vote? When has it become a moral obligation to vote regardless of the moral character of the candidates? I've spoken to people who truly think I am sinning against God and my neighbor by not voting for a presidential candidate.  I've heard it said from the pulpit year after year that we must vote our conscience.  But what if voting my conscience is to not vote?  Well, that would just be UnAmerican!  Which, for most people, is a euphemism for UnChristian. How did we ever get here?

I understand that in not voting for any candidate I am, in effect, potentially allowing a vote for the other candidate to count. It isn't, however, true that in not voting for any candidate I am essentially casting a vote for the other candidate. That would be true in a situation where only two candidates are on the ballot.  In this year's election there are more than two candidates.  Therefore I could vote for one of the other candidates who, if we are being serious, none of which is going to come close to winning.  In which case I have not done anything to stop the one candidate I'm being accused of helping by not voting in the first place.

Honestly I think such arguments are only used to ease the conscience of those who insist it is my moral obligation, as a Christian, to vote.  What I mean is I have the follow problems with these candidates:

Clinton:
Supports the unrestricted murder of the unborn.
Does not support homeschooling.
Supports forced insurance coverage (i.e., Obamacare), which in turn supports the murder of children, gender reassignment surgery, euthanasia, and more.
Does not support freedom of speech.

Trump:
Is, by his own admission, a sexual predator,
Has been shown to be a shady businessman,
Has changed his position on numerous issues like calling himself a Christian (please, does anyone actually believe this?), his support of abortion, etc.
Frankly, the guy is off his rocker.  I truly think he is mentally unstable if his interviews and debates are to be any judge.

And I am being told it is my moral obligate to vote for one of these? Really? Even the other candidates have things I cannot support.  Abortion being the main issue for me.   But most believers I talk to have the same problems as I do.  They know it is wrong.  Yet they have the false belief that they must vote and at the same to know that the one they are voting for stands for, even promotes, ideas they know to be morally reprehensible.  Therefore they, like all of us when when we find ourselves in these situations, must come up with arguments to help salve our consciences.

I understand that if every Christian took my position there is a distinct possibility Clinton will get the office and the persecution of Christians, already begun in the current administration, will most certainly gain momentum.  But there are two things to be said concerning that.  First, the persecution is coming.  Putting a mentally unstable sexual predator in office may slow it down, but it is coming. There is simply no way, in the current environment of sexual revolution and moral suicide that the Church can remain the true, biblical church and not suffer persecution.  The Bible and History warns us of this.  The fact that we, in America, have lived in fairly consistent peace for so long is an anomaly and one that, in the opinion of many, has not been very good for the Church.

Second, I am not willing to sacrifice my morals, integrity and conscience in order to stop someone else from taking office.  That would be succumbing to the morally bankrupt philosophy of "The ends justify the means".  Something we know as Christians is wrong not to mention unbiblical.

If we, as Christians, are willing to go that far, why not lie to people in order to get them "Saved"?  Why not blow up abortion mills?  Why not strap bombs to ourselves and blow up school buses full of children and women in the name of God?  It may sound like hyperbole, but that is exactly the logical conclusion such thinking leads to.  I am not saying that people who vote will blow up school buses.  Most Christians are willing to live with an ever growing degree of cognitive dissonance.  But the fact is when it comes to choosing the lesser of two evils we should choose neither evil, not argue about what evil we should choose. The latter is a very slippery slope.

In highschool and college teachers love introducing children to the concept of a "moral dilemma". It is a way to teach the "new morality" which is basically the idea that there was no such thing as absolute morals (Which completely contradicts the Bible.  Which is the point).  They typically start by telling a story that ends in a dilemma and then give the students two choices, both of which break perceived moral standards.  Most of the time the teachers are committing the logical fallacy of a false dilemma, but either way the typical result is to shake the faith of the students in absolute morals (and consequentially the Bible). Even my faith, such as it was, was shaken when I was a lad.

But that was then, this is now.  I am older, smarter and I think a little wiser.  I'm not a kid or college student any more.  I'm an adult and I know better.  Such moral dilemmas rarely exist in a biblical and Christian framework and this voting season is no different.  Voting, contrary to what most Christian leaders are saying, is not an either-or situation.  If determine that all of the candidates stand for things that I, as a Christian, know are sinful and offensive to God as revealed in the Bible then I have a true moral obligation to abstain from voting.

I am sure, if Clinton wins, and more persecution comes I will be told that I am partly to blame.  But I am OK with that.  After all, didn't Jesus say we would suffer for standing up for him?  Aren't we told that all who would live godly in Christ will suffer persecution?  Technically speaking we are all to blame for our persecution.  After all, if we would just compromise a little tiny bit we would be in the clear.  For the earliest believers all they had to do was offer a small pinch of incense to the Emperor or pay a little bit of money for a sacrifice to the gods and they would be left alone and in peace.  But just a little was too much for them.  I'm of the opinion a little should be too much for us too.  So no, I will not vote this year.  I will choose no evil.




Tuesday, October 25, 2016

But in my defense...

We are such a litigious society.  If someone offends us we want revenge.  The movie industry has made a killing playing off this tendency.  Either we go to court or we do whatever we can to make sure everyone knows we are innocent or the victim.  Just read Facebook, follow twitter or peruse the news outlets.  Everyone is a victim it seems.

I wish I could say as Christians we are much different than the world.  I wish I could point my finger at the world, waggle it back and forth, and say, "Not like that! Not like that at all!".  But I can't.  We are prone to strike back whenever someone strikes our cheek.  Just read Facebook or Twitter for a few days and you'll get the idea.

That is why I found it so refreshing when I ran across the following excerpt of the life of an Eastern Orthodox saint at abbamoses.com:
[Macarius] was born around 300 in Egypt and in his youth was a camel driver. While still living in his village, he withdrew to a small cell to devote himself exclusively to ascesis and prayer. When the people there wanted to make him a priest, he fled to another village. There a young woman who was discovered to be pregnant falsely accused Macarius of being the father. Macarius was seized, reviled and beaten, but made no effort to defend himself; instead he took on more work in order to provide for the mother and her child. When his innocence was finally discovered, the townspeople came to ask his forgiveness; but he fled to the desert of Sketis (now called Wadi Natrun). He was then thirty years old, and for the rest of his life he dwelt in the desert.
What would people think of Christians and the Church if we all acted like Macarius?