Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Should a Christian Vote for an Atheist?


We are in the early throws of what could likely be the nastiest election cycle America has ever seen. Political name calling is running rampant – not only of the candidates, but also between their supporters. Not a day goes by when groups of people representing each and every candidate are called “disgusting,” “nasty,” “stupid,” "blind," “evil,” or “unpatriotic” just for supporting a certain candidate. Some mud-slinging is to be expected – but not within the Church. I have lost count of how many times Christians on social media have personally attacked candidates and/or their followers. Is that really how the Church should express itself? Is such action becoming? Is this what Jesus would do? Is this Kingdom work? The answers are all obvious.

Before we answer the question in the title of this post, we should recognize that it is okay to attack ideas. However, it is never okay to attack people. The Bible urges us in 1 Peter 3:9, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” And, Ephesians 6:12 implores us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Clearly, we have no basis to attack another person, even with words. So, why are Christians doing it? The answer is pride.

Pride is the foundation of every sin. It is the fuel of all Godless rebellion. And, it is pride in our own opinions and pride in our political stripes that blinds us into the un-Christ-like behavior of attacking others. In this case, it is an exhibition of faith in politics, which is faith ill-placed. Are your opinions really more important than people? As I write that, I must confess that I am as guilty, if not more so than others, of exactly what I am calling out. I have engaged in personal, derogatory commentary over political issues. So, my finger is pointed at me first. But, let’s finish analyzing this regardless of personal guilt.

The truth is that your candidate of choice makes you no more or less Christian than any other voter. Who are you and me to judge someone else over who they vote for or support? With such matters (non-Kingdom matters), every Christian should be afforded the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they have valid reasons to vote for the candidate that you find unacceptable? Have you considered that your favorite candidate is just as much a sinner as theirs? Maybe the term Christian politician is an oxymoron? Maybe we should stop assuming anyone is a Christian who runs for public office? Maybe we should vote for people based solely upon the totality of their platform and executive abilities and not based on a moral litmus test that you sanctimoniously think is more important than everyone else's litmus tests? Maybe we should stop judging others, period? Actually, that is precisely what we should stop doing.

This blog has said it before and it bears repeating: We are electing a President, not our Spiritual leader. If morality is the standard, every candidate is flawed. Who are you to arrogantly assume that you have a bead on exactly the right platform of the right candidate that God would morally prefer? Let’s not forget that in the Presidential election of 1980, Jimmy Carter was deemed to be a much more “Christian” candidate than Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a divorced-remarried, former liberal California/Hollywood actor. Carter was a faithful Christian husband of one wife and Sunday School teacher. Using the standards that Christians actively vilify today, we should have all voted for Carter over Reagan for risk of being a bad Christian. I thank God we did not. And, in 2012, it is astounding how many Christians voted for the "Christian" (Obama) over the Mormon (Romney) for similar reasons that they demonize candidates today. Are we better off as a result?  

Christian, if you have a high horse, get off of it as soon as possible. We were not meant to ride high horses (proverbially that is). God has not awarded any Christian the title of His personal political police. You don't get to decide which candidate is more Christian than the others. After all, who can see each candidate’s heart? Only God. Vote with conviction. But, don't convict voters.

So, to the opening question, should a Christian vote for an atheist? Here are a couple things we can conclude in answering that question. First of all, voting for a "Christian" may be unwise (Carter, Obama, etc.). Second, a candidate's faith is not the primary criteria for candidacy - effectiveness as a Chief Executive is. Third, voting for an atheist is not a sin. In fact, voting for someone of any religious background is not a sin. What is a sin is voting or participating in elections in a prideful manner, to your own glory rather than God’s glory. If given the choice to vote for an atheist who is a perfectly qualified executive over a Christian who is proven incompetent, it would not be a sin to vote for the atheist – especially in a Constitutional government of checks and balances. Now, would I vote for an atheist? Probably not, however, it depends. But, that is beside the point. Should I judge and publicly attack another Christian who does? You should know the answer to that question by now.

Christian, the next time any of us either posts on social media or speaks politics with our Spiritual brothers and sisters, remember how Ephesians 4:31-32 implores us, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” That should be our final word.

You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. Profits go to Camp Bahamas. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.