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.