Friday, 19 September 2014

Left Right

OK, politics is big at the moment in New Zealand with elections tomorrow.

We all get heated, tempers flare and it gets a bit nasty. Political debates by party leaders in the media are a joke - no better than a bunch of kids throwing punches. A complete waste of time.

Everyone thinks their favourites are demigods and everyone else is stupid at best, evil at worst, for believing otherwise. Of course, this applies to all politics in the democratic world.

I've been chewing on it all for a while and made
some observations of a spiritual nature. Most people probably know I am left wing in my views, so yes, I'm biased. Take that into account of course, but I'm trying to be objective.

Left versus right - conservative versus liberal - socialist versus capitalist, and other various labels.

I've noticed, as a generalisation, that most left leaning people are the creative passionate ones. They are often artists of some description. They tend to see the world through eyes of compassion. They tend to feel the pain of others and are concerned for injustice. They hate oppression and inequality. They often see the unity of humanity, our relationship with the world and nature. They are more demonstrative and vocal. They are idealists.

Right leaning people, as a generalisation, see the world through the eyes of personal success. They see the value of inspiring us all to achieve, and often assume everyone is capable of being well off, happy and healthy through hard work. This is usually because it's exactly what they have achieved themselves. They tend to be more materialistic and put great value on power, personal success, capitalism, consumerism, and feel that the economic success of a country justifies the means taken to attain it.

As I said, these are generalisations, but the overview is valid.

So which of these is more "christ like"? Which of these represents God's heart of love?

Most christians in the west have been deeply influenced by the Protestant work ethic. This leads to a very materialistic world view, making our hard work and success an indicator of our spirituality.
The justification for many is that our wealth can then be used to extend the kingdom of God and get people saved. For many people, its simply a matter of "if you don't work and pull your weight, you don't deserve to eat", and variations on that theme. There are of course, many others who see a different picture, where our value isn't determined by materialistic success.

But I think there are very deep issues underlying all this. Right wing views often state that we need good capitalism to provide the resources so we can help the needy. To a degree this is true, but very shallow and shortsighted. Often those who are deeply involved in business and money making justify it by saying their taxes help the poor, or they donate to good causes. But there are very few who realistically live this ideal. They often give token amounts that are gestures to help them feel good. Jesus apparently had a lot to say about money and the mentality behind riches. Also, the underlying values of the whole stock-market/share-trading system is to make money in the most impersonal way possible. Companies hand over financial control to thousands of faceless investors who have no concern for the hearts and passions of those who make up the real business. Profit is the bottom line. To me, its the most insidious form of abuse and greed we have devised.

All that's not to say it wrong to make money. Our whole society is based on money, for better or worse. But in the process we lose sight of deeper values.

Why is it that those who really care, who see the suffering, the injustice and abuses in this world, at every level, care little about conservative, capitalistic, materialism, treating money only as a way to bring love and equality to all mankind.

In my experience, I've found right wing conservatives, ultimately lack a depth of compassion and understanding for the world and of individual hearts. They tend to label the underprivileged, abused and dispossessed as a single nondescript entity, rather than millions of individual people with their own unique stories, each one precious and loved in their own right.

I'm "left" because its the only way I can see God's heart of unconditional love being effectively expressed to every person. Yes, there's a balance in all this, and I've made generalisations. But at the core of it all, I understand why Jesus apparently said the pursuit of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

I cannot, with all good conscience, support any right wing views, no matter how well they expressed, simply because the core values are built on something that is the antithesis of unconditional love.

I know many will have different views on this and will jump on me for being so black and white, and sounding judgmental. But don't take it personally, think it through carefully, and like I said, its a generalisation.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Ostrich Syndrome

The incredible revelations surfacing in the upcoming New Zealand elections have, for me anyway, highlighted a part of human nature that is pretty universal - our propensity to bury our head in the sand when confronted by something that is potentially dangerous.

In the case of the elections, the accusations being made about the Prime Minister and his party are overwhelming, and the world is watching, waiting for him to cave in. But meanwhile, the party faithful not only refuse to believe the evidence, but actively deny the possibility of any wrong doing. Their leader and his political party would not just be unwilling to commit such things, but would be incapable because they are so honorable.

You constantly hear comments like "John Key is such a lovely man", "he has such a lovely manner and smile", "he's a good family man" etc.

People are afraid to admit they could be wrong. They can't admit they voted for someone who could do that. They aren't prepared to face the implications of the issues. The status quo is more important than having to live with the mess that will ensue. Its better to hang in there with the devil we know and just bury our heads in the sand, in the hope it will all blow over and everything will carry on as it was.

Christendom is exactly the same - only on a much larger scale.

We do the same with our beliefs. Its impossible that we have made a mistake. It's completely inconceivable that our treasured belief system, that has been established over nearly 2000 years, could even vaguely be off course, let alone off the tracks completely.

So we bury our heads in the sand when confronted by new evidence. We refuse to believe that anything outside the traditional christian paradigm has any validity. We claim that our spirits know that anything outside that paradigm is a lie from the devil. Our faith system is so firmly stitched up that those who even entertain the possibility of alternatives are branded rebellious or at worst, heretics.

We are actively discouraged from pursuing any line of questioning that isn't confined within the current theological boundaries, and taught that the only truth to be had is strictly within the bible. We must not undo all the good work that centuries of minds far better than ours, have sweated over, apparently under God's guidance, to bring us orthodox, unquestionable doctrines.

Of course, we conveniently overlook the fact that there has been endless arguments over those doctrines, but none the less, the bible is unquestionable (whatever that means).

But just like our comfortable voters refusing to have their paradigms shaken no matter what is put before them, christians remain standing with their heads firmly buried in the sand (well, bent over somewhat I guess!).

Why? Because they have too much to lose. The mess created by confronting and sorting through the real issues could damage the status quo irreconcilably. The truth becomes too "inconvenient", no matter how its presented. Reasoning is futile, logic is futile. All questioning outside the accepted doctrines is deemed deception.

I could go on, but to those who have seen this phenomenon, well, they know the futility of trying to confront it.

How do we help people get their heads out of the sand?

Bloody good question. For me, deep down, I could never be satisfied by the status quo, no matter how determined I was to fit in, or to embrace it all because everyone genuinely believed it was the only truth. No, I had to be wrong, I was rebellious, so I towed the line and repressed everything until it all turned to custard.

And yet for many others, they are blissfully unaware until one day, a light get's turned on.

Perhaps its a deep desire for truth and integrity - to want to know truth for ourselves, no matter what the cost. Perhaps that finally rises up in some and breaks into the light.

And many never make it. They simply perish with their heads still happily stuck in the sand, and genuinely happy at that! Ignorance is bliss I guess. And in the end, I simply can't judge a person's worth just because they are happy where they are! Of course, everyone is equally loved and intrinsically part of God whether they know it or not. So its not like I feel superior - just sad and sometimes frustrated.

But something in me refuses to accept that people can't live better lives, happier, more fulfilled, more loving and compassionate, if they can let go and allow themselves to think bigger and not be afraid of where that may lead, because ultimately, all roads lead to love. It would be great though, if we could get the best out of the journey on that road!