I try not to write about politics on this page because politicians by their nature are in the divide and conquer business, whereas I see the Seeker’s Dungeon as a place where we are able to come together in the commonality of our struggle for inner peace.  It is unclear to me whether my strong belief that spirituality and politics don’t belong together comes from my American upbringing and the belief in the separation of church and state, or my Indian upbringing that says we should not taint spirituality with impure things.

It’s funny because in both countries, politicians have no problem invoking religion to sway voters to their cause.  That is the nature of the beast.  But when we do it in the opposite direction, preaching politics from the pulpit, it appears dirty and degrading to that upon which the pulpit rests.

To a certain extent politics is about, or has become about, pandering.  If you can’t make the people believe in what you believe, then you tell them what they want to hear to get elected.  If you are not willing to do this, then the chances of you getting elected become much slimmer.  This process can easily be seen in the constant catering to special interest groups and party bases in the early primaries, and then quickly moving more to the political center for the general elections.

Spirituality, on the other hand, is a very personal, inner search for truth; for that one thing that never changes.  Spirituality would seem not to have any foundation in the world of politics.  But that doesn’t stop politicians and religious activists from playing tug of war with policy decisions.

Of course, I can see how it would come into play.  If you feel that you’ve found the answer, then you want to let those answers become a part of the governmental process.  This might be acceptable if you are not claiming a democracy for all people.  Totalitarian states can easily govern on the basis of their personal faith, but democracies are supposed to be a support and the means for the freedom of all people.  Or is democracy’s real purpose is to support the mob mentality, i.e. whatever the most people believe in should be truth for all.

We all have to answer some questions for ourselves when looking at the relationship between religion and politics.  Is it necessary for a good leader to believe in God?  Is it necessary for that leader to believe in the same God that you do?  Should we force leaders to tell us their religious beliefs knowing that in order to have a chance to win, they would probably have to lie if they don’t believe?

We all hear what we want to hear, take what we want to take, and keep what we want to keep from the sacred scriptures of the world.  This last sentence from a devotee’s perspective could be rewritten as we all hear what we need to hear, take what we need to take and keep what we need to keep from the sacred scriptures.  I remember very little from my Sunday school days but there was a quote that affected me in a traumatic sort of way and would become one of the foundation stones of my character.  That is a quote from Jesus found in Matthew Chapter 5:34-37

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’  But I say to you, do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.  Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”

It’s funny the things that stay with you, because it embedded a moral code into me that to this day I live by even knowing that most do not.  To this day, I will not only say more than yes for yes and no for no, but on top of that I expect people to believe me when I say it. It’s an honor thing.  I cannot stand it when people ask me the same question twice even when it is just a habit of their personality, such as always repeating, “Really is that so?”  Of course, I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it, I’ll always think.  This may be why a politician’s flux doesn’t sit well with me, even if I understand it.

The world is a constantly changing place.  When we read the words of the godly men and women we are reading about people that updated religion for the time in which they lived.  They rocked the world of the establishment.  Whether it was Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, or Amma, they were and are blowing the minds of the worlds that they walk in.

I live in India and here spirituality is fluid.  The history here of the guru and disciple relationship is as old as the religion is, so it is able to change with the times without being blasphemous.  This change may be much more difficult for other societies where the teachings were set in stone once the master died.

I can understand a church that doesn’t want to change, for they are set in tradition, but to expect government not to change with a world that is blazing away with new technologies and new issues, is setting that government up for failure.

To me government and religion are ruling two different dimensions.  One rules the world, the other rules the heart.  While spirituality can teach us how to live in such a world, and guide us in our personal decisions, including who we vote for, we shouldn’t expect that our values are the same as those around us.  God is so great that he can come to each person in a form that they will be attracted to him.  That is my personal belief.  But, should the world be ruled by the attraction of our neighbor’s when they may hold separate beliefs than our own, or should we all be free to follow our own hearts?

Maybe the real question is what does freedom mean to you?

 

Featured image via http://www.play.google.com

12 Comments

  1. A poll was conducted in the US where people were asked: If you agreed with a candidate’s platform, completely, but that person was an atheist, would you vote for them? 70% of respondents said no, they would not vote for an atheist. The Texas state constitution makes it illegal for an atheist to hold a public office. Freedom, I fear for my freedom when a large section of the public are calling for a theocracy.

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  2. “To me government and religion are ruling two different dimensions. One rules the world, the other rules the heart.”

    Exactly. The other aspect of this for me which you also touch on is that spirituality is necessarily an individual matter. It is only made a larger thing by those who use it for power rather than what it is really about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Christianity
    Jesus Christ: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    Islam
    Muhammad: No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself”.

    Buddhism
    Buddha: Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wrestle with this as I seek more responsibility for our actions (caring for our Earth). It’s tough. Many governments have rulers that were endorsed by the ruling people with power/money. Not all are interested in the people of their country as a whole but are more interested in survival and the best for the fittest (the rulers). As humans, we are self-serving. It will be our downfall.

    You brought out some great points. I just hate politics. Can you separate politics and religion in reality? I’m not sure. Maybe it is an ideal that can only be strived for?

    I think, here in the US at least, most politicians are willing to sell their soul to whoever can get them elected. They are not interested in becoming compassionate and loving individuals in search of peace…the nature of the beast? I personally think we should be free to follow our hearts. 🙂 Take care!

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  5. I like to think that some politicians act from their core being: who they are. I like to think that some speak what they see and believe; but then we wouldn’t have a democracy, for, as you state, a democracy requires a politician to have a history of doing what the people want.

    What if a politician was elected based on wisdom instead of voting history? What if a politician lead, instead of followed, the constituents?

    You got me thinking: what are the chances that a genuine leader will tolerate being a political figure? How would the political arena give that person more power than the influence of free speech? If God is so great, that s/he appears to each person in an attractive way, then when a person speaks the God that is within, the effect would be beneficial for all.

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  6. Wonderful clarity! Politics and power are false gods sought by selfish people. Unfortunately, people go to church to learn of their spiritual reality and are given the same product. True spirituality is NOT about memorizing old scriptural passages–it is about leaving behind that which does not serve and reaching toward the higher consciousness and energy of Truth, Life, Gratitude, Courage, Forgiveness and all other forms of Love.

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  7. “To me government and religion are ruling two different dimensions. One rules the world, the other rules the heart.”

    With any tool at man’s disposal religion can be used for good or evil.
    History has shown that religion is used often as a form of mass social control and as such government and religion are connected, some for good some for evil.
    Even today religion is used to fill man’s search for meaning in unscrupulous ways and attract young people to causes that are very questionable and some downright evil.
    For me there is no divide. Good people must get their hands dirty in the real world…we cannot just criticise from a distance. The world is a messy place. In my humble opinion, there are no universal truths, only those forged in the heat of experience. If evil wins then unfortunately it is right and that is why we must all fight to make sure it does not.

    Thank you for sharing such great thoughts and thank you for visiting my blog

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  8. God created government and gave Israel their first king, Saul, when they wanted to be like all of the other nations. The separation of church and state is to protect the church from the government, meaning that the government cannot and should not interfere in people’s personal beliefs, whatever they might be – whether they choose God, Buddha, Allah, a guru or other spiritual leader. I find it offensive when religious leaders use their position to support a politician. I think theocracies can be dangerous. That’s just my opinion. This is a very thoughtful and thought provoking post.

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