Politics as Religion

An alarming trend has occurred in America that hasn’t probably occurred since the Civil War.  Families have become divided, to the point of not speaking to one another, over politics.  A recent New York Times article on the subject shows that it tends to be the left who separates from others over their views.  What has happened?

It would seem for some people that politics has become their whole reason for being.  They see themselves, their world view and their ideology as having all the answers for a fulfilling life.  Rather than look at every issue from both sides and form a rational response, politics for some has become irrational.  They have only looked at one side of an issue, refuse to see there might be another side, and instead brand those who disagree as not “wrong” or “misinformed” but as actually evil.

If I do not agree with the worldview, I am a hater, and an evil _____  fill in the blank with whatever pertains to the issue at hand.  There is a litany of words to choose from.   And the person who banishes a family member feels very righteous and justified in doing so.  They see themselves as being on a moral high ground, courageous and sacrificial in banning others from their lives, even if those people were once important and loved.

Politics has become the religion of some.  It is based on a philosophical system that sees the world according to a particular paradigm.  Everything about life, meaning and satisfaction can be explained according to this paradigm.  It differs from religion only in lacking a God, and lacking a faith in a life after this one.  It gives the person meaning and purpose, as well as a sense of their own righteousness, and therefore, examining and possibly changing some of their beliefs is psychologically threatening–hence the lack of ability to reason with someone who disagrees.

A reasonable faith, one that is based on looking at all the available arguments and choosing the reasonable solution, is a faith that allows one to listen to others without feeling threatened, and allows for a periodic re-examination of conclusions based on further evidence.

The ideology as religion will probably not last for most people.  Government becomes a very unsatisfying God, and the older one becomes, the more one realizes one’s own mortality.  Ideology doesn’t answer questions of transcendence.

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