There can be no doubt that this presidential election has divided this nation unlike any other in our recent history.
Here on ExChristian.Net emotions have been flaring and jibes flying on both sides of the political fence - and frankly, I'm glad to see that happening.
When I was a Christian, I was always strongly encouraged to vote based on such things as a candidate's stand on abortion or some moral issue, regardless of what else the candidate supposedly stood for. If I were to vote for the candidate that supported abortion or gay rights, I'd be condemned from the pulpit mercilessly until my very salvation would be brought into question by my own conscience. If I were a Christian now, voting for Bush would be what would be expected - it would be nearly mandatory.
Now that I no longer believe, it is not mandatory that I vote for Bush. However, unlike the Christian, I do not now have a requirement to vote for any particular candidate, regardless of their stance on any one issue. In other words, I am not required to vote for Kerry either. That leads to the point of why I am glad to see the sharp political disagreements emerging on this site.
The whole point of being a free-thinker is to think freely. I left the bonds of religion, not to swing like a pendulum to an opposite extreme, but to be free of any compulsory views. I am free to make decisions based on my own personal research, my own reasoning ability, my own experiences, and not obligated to decide "truth" based on what the latest "experts" are preaching. (If anyone really believes they haven't been hearing "preaching" from both Democrats and Republicans, um, well...)
The American Revolution was waged with bitter disagreement among those who lived on this continent. Many believed revolting against the King of England was the wrong choice and would result in a horrific waste of life and resources. And for a long time, the Loyalists, as they were called, seemed to be right. The revolution appeared destined for failure. Religious platitudes were touted on both sides of the issue and Bible verses brought into play to support one side or the other. The citizenry of the newly formed Union were not in agreement at all.
The Civil War may be the best example of how decisions that affect our national policies can divide us. Then too religion was used to bolster the intestinal fortitude of the opposing sides. The Bible was quoted in defense of both perspectives.
WWII was entered only after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Up until then, although millions were dying in Europe, the U.S. citizenry believed a separatist philosophy was best. Some who disagreed with the status quo became mercenaries, joining the English military machine, believing that in order to protect America?s shores; Europe would have to be freed from Hitler?s dominance. There is some evidence to suggest that Roosevelt knew of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor and did nothing to impede it, knowing that the only way to motivate America into the world arena would be an attack on its very shores. Whether he really knew about the attack or not, that is exactly what finally motivated the U.S. to become actively involved in Europe and Asia. Various churches were found preaching both for the war and against it.
Today Bush panders to the Evangelicals while Kerry solicits support from Liberal and Black Christians. Both are attempting to use religious conviction to further their personal agenda.
All that being said, I am grateful for the American form of government that allows for disagreements, even sharp disagreements, and allows them to be expressed, and does nothing to silence those who disagree. These last 230 years are a unique time in the history of us homo-sapiens. Throughout most of history, simply publicly disagreeing with those in power would often separate a person from his or her head. In fact, people are losing their heads nearly every day, and it is televised or shown on the Internet - innocent people - non-military people - people whose only crime is that their opinions differ.
Today we in the west are waging an internal war of political ideas, words, and concepts. Arguments are heated, people's feelings get offended, friendships are wounded, but so far we haven't resorted to violence against each other - yet.
My point with all this?
As stated many times before, this site was created to encourage those who have left the mental shackles of Christianity. No longer bound by the lies of myth, we are free to explore the reasons we think what we think and do what we do. Regardless of which candidate you or I vote for, we still remain united in this: we no longer believe Christianity has the answers and we human beings must decide how our world will be run. We must think for ourselves and not become the dupes of the politically owned media, or the most charismatic speaker, or the etc. We must learn to make rational decisions based on all the facts, not just those spoon fed to us on CBS or some other major market media that's looking for ratings.
In my 46 years of life my presidential candidate has sometimes won and he has sometimes lost. Every election I've either been elated or disappointed, depending on my perspective at the time. Republicans have sometimes been in power and Democrats have sometimes been in power, and guess what - my pay steadily increased over the years, my belly was filled, my house was warm, and I grew a year older. Regardless of governmental doomsday rhetoric, mounting reports of unemployment, rumors of uncontrolled inflation, supposedly crashing stocks, stories of crippling poverty, and a host of never before discovered incurable diseases, I continued to live - and live quite nicely compared to most of the rest of the so called "common people" on the planet. Fear sells politics, and fear is used in ALL political pontificating.
Go out and vote for your candidate of choice, and when Tuesday is finally passed, let's make a commitment to get back on target - the target of helping those who are still encumbered by a mind numbing fear that God is judging our nation and will cast all His detractors into hell.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)