Of the thousands of atheists I have conversed with, especially in the United States and United Kingdom and it seems to a much lesser extent those in Canada, politics plays an important part of atheist thinking. No wonder, because especially where I come from, the U.S.A. Christianity has served as a powerful tool for political structuring. Throughout history this has been the case with Christendom and Islamic states with devastating consequences.
Christ was no part of the world. When the Jews wanted to make him a political leader, a messiah in the sense that David had been, he literally ran away from them. When Satan offered him all of the kingdoms of men of all time he rejected them, and perhaps more interestingly, he never questioned Satan's authority over them in making the offer.
Jesus insisted his followers be no more a part of the world they were forced to temporarily live in, to be separate from it. For this reason the Jehovah's Witnesses along with myself don't vote or try to influence society through legislation or politics. We don't support or fight in the wars of nations. We don't meddle in important societal issues like abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research or prayer and evolution in schools.
The Bible teaches us to respect our governments and to obey them unless their laws interfere with Jehovah God's laws, and only then do we attempt to have any sort of impact. For example, if the country we live in forbids worship or proselytizing.
Likewise we ask that the Christian congregation be left to peacefully live by their own standards according to their Christian regulations, for example, on homosexuality.
How do you as an atheist, non-theist, anti-theist or agnostic etc. view the importance in politics according to your personal perspective? Do you simply see as a minority the fairness of the majority having more impact?
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I personally like the approach you laid out I am guessing for the Jahovahs' Witnesses above. If only the Baptist, Evangelist Muslim and various other relgious organizations could adopt such policy I think the world could be a better place.
Personally I think religion should stay out of government though I do think everyone should be entitled to vote. I don't however think it's good to have religious or other organizations telling people how to vote. In fact if I had my way about it, politicians would not be allowed to divulge affiliations with any groups and they wouldn't be allowed to spend money on their campaigns outside an allowance given to them equal to an amount given to all their opponents. 3rd party Political based advertisement would also be illegal. The politicians should be able to make speeches divulging their opinions on issues they feel are important at the time and their voting history on past issues should be readily available. Debates on various issues be allowed never should they divulge who they have voted for in the past. All this would put all contenders on equal footing and force voters to actually look into the person they were voting for but this will never happen. So in effect what I am saying is, I don't just want religion to stay out of politics but also any other organizations. However that being said, I think as long as you have one organization involved it is only fair that all organizations can play the game and if enough people are bothered by how things are turning out, they should get involved and make things turn out differently. All that being said, I strongly support the separation of church and state.
I agree, Zaphod, the world would be a better place and I think that there would be a great deal less tension between the theistic and the atheistic. I think that everyone should be entitled to vote as well, but the true Christian shouldn't have any interest in it because Jesus is their King. This was true of the Jews with Jehovah as well. They made a big mistake making a man their King when they already had Jehovah.
The separation of church and state is extremely important. As a theist I am all for removing the 10 commandments from the courthouse, the pagan nativity scene from the public square, prayer and creationism from the schools, and "In God we trust" from money. The later being an insult to God and a deception anyway.
ETA: By the way, I really like your avatar, Beeblebrox isn't easy to portray in art and yet your avatar pulled it off perfectly.
Yeah but, I always pictured him as a little bulkier and with shorter hair.
I always think that as long as you are a good person, what you believe in would just your group your in. Those who involved in politics should serve honesty and their right purposes no matter what their groups or religions they are in.
I firmly believe that religion has no place in politics. Not simply because I'm an atheist and I have no place for religion at all, but because, as you've pointed out Pathway Machine, the two subjects just deal with completely different realms of thought. Religion works with morals, politics with ethics. It does nothing good for either to try and pass one off as the other.
However, I do not see why a religious person can not have adequately rational political discussions that do not concern their faith, but merely the ethical treatment of others in the physical world. So long as they can see and understand that not everyone shares their faith, and remember to allow for a peaceful world despite beliefs of others, I see no reason why they wouldn't want to vote for one. Theist or not, you're still stuck in this world until you die, so why not try to make the best of it?