By Nikki Dabney
While I never would have considered myself on the Left, where there are a few key issues that are obviously contradictory to my beliefs, I was proudly in the middle. I wanted to be a “cool, cultured Christian,” not a stereotypical Christian conservative. I had a genuine desire to honor God and be a loving Christ follower. I had compassion (and still do) toward vulnerable groups – like immigrants, like the poor – and I thought that meant I should lean toward the Left.
This was the result of a surface-level knowledge of both the Bible and politics. God said to welcome the foreigner and care for the poor, right? Democrats care about people and Republicans care about money, right? Not quite. We should not make deep philosophical or political claims nor cast our vote toward a party or ideology with only ankle-deep understanding. Trying to match single Bible verses with modern, complex policies is an elementary game.
To claim your Christian worldview informs your political decisions (which it should) means you need to understand the Christian worldview. Why did God choose the nation of Israel? What was His relationship to the rest of the nations? What was the purpose of the Law? What is the difference between a moral, civic, and ceremonial law? What is our obligation to earthly authority? What is the problem in the world? What is the solution? What is God’s definition of justice? In what areas is God flexible? In what areas is He firm? Which standards do we hold nonbelievers to? What was the purpose of Christ’s earthly ministry? What is our purpose?
And this just scratches the surface.
Like every devoted follower of Christ, I am dedicated to the lifelong pursuit of studying, knowing, and following Scripture. And I have dedicated the last several years to studying politics. As those around me can tell you, it’s all I consumed. I watched every debate, I read through legislation, I listened to hours of news from multiple sources every day.
I learned a lot, but most importantly: I started thinking critically. Informed by my Christian worldview, I rationally thought through policy decisions and landed on the Right side of the aisle. (I’ll share more specifics later.)
You cannot be an informed voter if your knowledge base is headlines, tweets, and memes. Do not be so easily convinced. It is unproductive and juvenile to just jockey talking points back and forth.
On the other hand, I know many people are overwhelmed by everything they feel they need to know before they can participate in the conversation. There is some straight-up information to know – facts, statistics, history, etc. – but politics (according to Aristotle, “the things concerning the polis”) can be thought through and discussed using rationality and civility.
And that is my plea to my community – as the election nears, let’s think critically and engage in true political discourse.
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