I didn't blog much in 2020, and the last time I did a blog post was at the end of August. The main reason is my depression has been really bad for several months, possibly worse than it has ever been. No one in my life has a clue as to how bad my depression is. I am not bordering on self harm of any kind, so if you are reading this, no worries there. There are a couple of reasons I would never do that.
I have started some blog posts, but never finished them. I typed this one up at work the other day when it was slow, so I guess I will post it. I am not posting links on Facebook as I usually do, so maybe no one will even read it...especially since it is so long.
Disillusioned with Christianity
I have never been a strong Christian. I have struggled with different doubts for most of my life. For years, I struggled to believe God truly loved me. I also went through a period where I had a difficult time believing I was truly saved. I have never felt I measured up to what a Christian should be, and prayer and reading the Bible has never come easy to me. It has mostly been something I felt I had to do as a Christian. So nothing I say in this post is because I believe I am a better Christian than others, or that I am better off than anyone. Because that is far from true.
But the truth of the matter is, I have become disillusioned with Christianity. And it is pretty much because of politics.
I get people voting for Trump in the general election because of Hillary. I am still not sure a Christian should have voted for him.....but I get why so many did. I don't get people - especially Christians - voting for him in the primaries over some very decent, conservative, and even Christian candidates. I felt fairly early that I could not vote for him, and not just because of what and who he was. I have criticized Democrats for years for voting for the candidate on the Democratic ticket no matter how bad they were....so how could I do the same when the candidate was the very opposite of what we should be voting for?
And man, did I get crap for it....from several Christians. They didn't care that it would be going against my conscience to vote for Trump. They made false accusations, and did their best to get me to vote the way they were, and used all sorts of things to manipulate me into voting how I strongly believed that I should not. I was told if I wasn't for Trump, I was for Hillary. I was told a vote for a 3rd party was a vote for Hillary. A long time friend told me if I wasn't for Trump that I was for Hillary and for killing babies.....and he knew I wasn't.
Four years later, anyone who dares criticize and not fully support Trump are still put down and called names. Just yesterday a great conservative and good man (Tom Cotton) who is a Republican Senator was called spineless, and Christians and conservatives are wanting to vote him out because he dared say we need to accept the election results. On the same post, another Senator who is a true conservative was also called spineless because he has dared speak out against Trump. If you aren't 100% for Trump, then his Christian and/or conservatives supporters consider you a traitor, spineless, and other lovely terms.
In 2016, author and pastor Max Lucado came out against Trump and gave solid reasons why a Christian should not support (and maybe vote for) Trump. He was called a Pharisee......yet if he has listed the same reasons for a Democrat, he would have been cheered on.
I am not going to list all of the reasons I oppose Trump, and why the reasons I felt I could not vote for him. That is not the point of my post. This post is how I have become disillusioned with Christianity. And again, I am not saying I am a better Christian than anyone else. In fact, I feel like I am on the edge of dismissing Christianity completely on my worst days.
I cannot remember who said it, but back in 2016 a man made the statement that if you are a Christian and was going to vote for Trump, it should be done with weeping and sorrow, not with excitement and happiness. Yet many Christians acted like he was the best thing since sliced bread and were excited to vote for him.
Shortly before the election, Trump supposedly became a Christian....just when he was really needing the Christian vote. Had someone running on the Democrat ticket done that, the same people believing his conversion would be very dubious that it was a genuine conversion. The man has acted very badly in the last 4 years, and most, if not all of his Christian supporters insist he is a Christian. Part of the problem is that if a politician does enough things his supporters like, they pretty much equate that with being a Christian.
Since Trump has come on the scene, Christians have defended - or at least turned a blind eye to - adultery, strip clubs, a man bragging about sexually assaulting women (and yes, what he said he likes to do IS sexual assault), vulgarity, arrogance, general bad behavior not befitting a president - and especially a Christian. And yet they claim he is a Christian...a baby Christian. Just how long does the baby stage last? Some claim he is the most Christian president we have ever had.
It is bad enough that so many Christians bypassed what they would condemn in a Democrat, but they want everyone else to do the same. Prior to this last election, several Christians were posting things claiming if you are a true Christian, you would vote for Trump. Others knocked, and pretty much mocked Christians for having issue with the way Trump acts.....even from my own church. Christians who oppose Trump have been called Pharisees, traitors, told they are not on God's side, and other similar things. It is not easy being a Christian and/or conservative who opposes and holds Trump accountable.
I firmly believe that politics has corrupted the church and Christianity in America. The nomination and election of Donald Trump has either made it worse, or made it more obvious....or both. The events of this week are a great example. Trump supporters broke into the Capitol and resorted to violence and destruction. A lot of Trump supporters are insisting the people are not Trump supporters. Others are defending and supporting it....yet they would condemn Democrats for the same actions.
The Bible has a lot to say about how Christians should act and conduct themselves, yet that seems to go out the window for so many when it comes to politics.
Would a true Christian harshly criticize Democrats while trying to shut up anyone criticizing Trump?
Would a true Christian criticize a Democrat for what they defend in Trump?
Would a true Christian try to manipulate others into voting like them?
Would a true Christian try to get someone to go against their conscience?
Would a true Christian place so much faith in a politician?
Would a true Christian be OK with and cheer on actions in Trump that they know are wrong and that they would never stoop to themselves?
Would a true Christian call someone names and knock them for believing they should not vote for Trump?
I attend what is known as a holiness church. They are known for believing it is wrong to dress in certain ways, and for not engaging in certain activities that a lot of other churches do. They also teach and believe in sanctification, or an indwelling of the Holy Spirit as some churches call it. It is a taking out of the root of sin, and is supposed to take away what makes people lose their temper and stop them from being petty, etc. I personally stopped believing in it some years ago because of people professing it and not acting it...plus isn't Jesus enough? If a trip to the altar giving your life to Jesus doesn't cause a big enough change in you, then maybe it didn't take.
It is difficult to explain the whole doctrine in a simple and condensed way, but let me put it this way: a Christian who is both saved and sanctified should act differently than the person who is just saved. Yet countless people who believe that and supposedly are sanctified in the way my church believes do not act like it when it comes to politics. Don't get me wrong, any Christian shouldn't act like so many do when it comes to politics....but if you are professing something that is supposed to cause you to act differently than what those who do not possess, then why bother with it?
This is not an exhaustive list of what gets tossed out when Christians get political, but here are some I believe do:
A soft answer
Doing good to your enemies
Loving your enemies
Praying for your enemies -or those you disagree with
Don't bear false witness
Not putting faith in man
The whole love chapter
The fruits of the Spirit
Can we love our neighbor as Jesus said to if we go after them because of politics?
And yeah, I suck at some of those also, and have given back as good as I have gotten.
Four years later, I still don't get how and why the religious right picked Donald Trump. Nor do I get why so many enthusiastically support him. If I did vote for him, it would be reluctantly and I sure wouldn't be excited about it and broadcasting that I voted for him and be proud of the fact as so many were in both elections. I have been sickened as so many Christians support and defend him no matter how badly he acts, and refuse to hold him accountable....then they try to shut up anyone who won't support or ignore his actions.
Just today, a Facebook friend posted that a lot of Trump supporters are calling for him to start a 3rd party: The Patriot's Party. Keep in mind that Trump supporters were strongly against voting 3rd party these last 2 elections....believe me, I know.
Christians have become way too political, and have let politics influence how they act towards those who don't agree with them politically. I also believe being so political has hurt our witness, and hindered us from what God wants us to do. Too many people work harder to win people to their candidate and political views, than they do to win people to God and get people into church who don't attend. Politics has pretty much become an idol to many Christians, and they are either unaware of it or they just don't care. The great commission has become more about winning people to Trump than to God.
Christianity would be better off if Democrats ruled everything and Christians suffered for their faith, then to be overtaken so much by politics that it affects how we live and how we treat people. I believe American Christianity has become far removed from Biblical Christianity, and politics is one major factor. There have been many times in these last four years that I have found myself thinking "If this is Christianity, I am not sure I want it." And if I, a person raised in the church, a Christian school, and who had 4 years of Bible college feels that way, then how many non-Christians feel that way when they see how Christians act in regards to politics? How many people have been turned off on Christianity because of what they have seen from political Christians?
I have related it before, but a friend of mine has 2 atheist friends who stated that after Christians supporting and defending Trump in 2016, they never wanted to hear a Christian talk about morals again. I fear politics in general, and such an extreme over the top defense and support of Trump has dealt a blow to Christianity.
And again, I am not saying I am guiltless or any better than others....but I will say the actions and words of many Christians these past 4 years have chipped away at what I believe and shaken my faith. I would like to think that these Christians wouldn't say what they have said and acted like they acted if they knew how it has affected my faith, but I fear politics and protecting Trump takes precedence over that. Not all Trump voters and supporters are the same.. I get that. I am not trying to make a blanket statement about all Christians who voted for him. But it is sad that so few have called him out on bad actions and policies over the 4 years of his presidency.
Last year I did something I thought I would never do: I un-registered to vote. There were a couple of reasons.
#1 I am still upset and frustrated by what was said to and about me for voting 3rd party.
#2 I am really disgusted with the Republican Party and wanted out
#3 I wearied of the idea I had to vote for a candidate because he ran on the GOP ticket and I was a Republican.
Christians should be involved in politics, I am not saying we should not be, but too many are too involved and not only let it affect how they treat people, but it also takes up too much of their time and energy. Instead of using social media to spread the Gospel and encourage others, too many use it for politics. A political Christianity is not a Biblical Christianity. It is a shallow Christianity that is not going to change our country for good. We like to blame the Democrats for the stare of our country, for the lack of morals, for drifting so far from God and the Bible....but could it be that too many Christians are contributing to that by living a version of Christianity that is too diluted by politics and other influences.
People love to say what Jesus would or would not do. I have no idea if He would vote, or if He would vote for either of the two main parties. I do know this: He was not political. There were a few times when the religious leaders tried to get Him to be political, and He refused. If we truly want to be like Jesus, maybe we should also avoid politics...or at least not focus on it very much.
I was thinking along these lines today, and I had this thought: We let who is in the White House consume way too much of our time. I get being concerned about politics, and our lives are influenced by who is in the White House, but why do we let it consume us so much? Is it any wonder Christianity is dying? We are obsessed with politics. One only has to look at social media to see how true that is.
I believe Trump has changed conservatism and Christianity in America, and done a hard blow to both. I still cannot understand why Christians are so over the top loyal to him to the point that they accept and/or defend everything he says or does, and ignores what they would normally be against. Why do they go after anyone who dares criticize him and not 100% support him? It seems the most important thing to many Christians is to defend and support Trump.
It has made me want something better than this politicalized Christianity that is so prevalent. There were Christians in the past who faced lions, stoning, were burnt at the stake, and suffered in other ways for their faith.....and they stood strong, and loved their enemies who were torturing and killing them...yet today's Christians can't handle their favorite politician being criticized.
I believe American Christianity has been shallow for a long time, but these last few years have shown just how shallow it is.