Political Emotionalism

A grainy video was sent by a Christian friend to all the friends that she knows.  It has children singing in Arabic and the video claims that they are singing in praise of Obama.  They will praise Allah if he is elected because they will have someone on ‘the inside’.  The authenticity of such a video is dubious.  However, my Christian friend sent it out as a warning.  Another Christian lambasted her for being so dumb.  Then there was a mud-slinging war of words about Barak’s refusal to put his hand on his heart, or how he treats the flag in his plane.

This is exactly why Christian poilitical conservatives are disrespected in the public arena.  We have little ability to dialogue, we just vent and spread ill-informed fear.  Does the God who cares for Christians in Tehran, not also look over those in the USA?  Of course he does.  There is no cause for alarm for the Christian.  Is it then a righteous rage?  Both sides of the spectrum would be guilty of the rage.  I have sat with liberals raging about Bush and conservatives raging about Obama.  What I notice in both sides of the rant is a definite lack of substance.  The information frequently comes from blogs, or e-mails, or the neighbour. 

Let’s think things through and not be reactionary.  Let’s really try and get a grasp of the issues.  We should engage people with a desire to understand them not defeat them.  Cornered people will be all the more savage.  It is a person made in the image of God that we are talking with.  When you engage an immortal soul you have a reason for respect.


About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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3 Responses to Political Emotionalism

  1. Matt H says:

    I agree that a lack of rationality and substance is a major problem in the American political arena. I knew a conservative Christian woman who, on the day of the election, would drive to the voting booth and count the number of signs for each candidate. Whichever candidate had more signs would receive her vote. In U.S. Government & Politics, my teacher told us that more than a third of American voters are ‘no content voters’ such as this, with an even larger portion being single issue voters. I think we could apply the same logic to philosophical and theological debates. Many time Christians argue from dogma rather than Scripture. When Scripture is used, it is just that, used to make a point. Rarely do people stop and consider objectively what Scripture might be teaching. The Church rarely analyzes it’s beliefs through the lens of Scripture, but rather we often read Scripture through the lens of what we already believe. Unsurprisingly, we usually find the support we set out to look for, and if we don’t we’ll make it up. People besides Christians do this too. A liberal might vote for a Obama, under the assumption that Democrats are better leaders, without looking at Obama himself. An atheist may find proof that there is no God because this is what she set out to prove. A terrorist might find much evidence that Americans are out to destroy the Muslim world if this is what he was taught to look for. If we would make real progress in any area, we must raise above our presuppositions and analyze the universe objectively, or at least recognize our presuppositions and try to understand how we might be biased.

  2. Dan D says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that many Christians do have a problem with their debate skills. Even their reasoning can be more than a little faulty, but part of me(a very small part) is grateful that they are sticking up for something. Perhaps my gratitude is due to my usual inaction in discussions that engender passion in others. My lack of passion leads me to let those with stronger opinions to work out the issue, so from my point of self-observation I can see a danger in making no statement at all. All things seem to have a razor’s edge to balance on.

  3. This…I’ve seen/heard far too many times. Words defensively come hurling out of the Christian mouth before even a moment is spent considering evidence of truth, searching for an unbiased pov, or listening to what others have to say. We’ve no excuses as to being uninformed — Christians oddly seem to struggle most here in the political arena. However, if we must be ignorant, which many unfortunately are, keep your mouth closed. I can see no shame with silence in exchange for mindless attacks on the unknown.

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